Pac-12 Championship: An Arizona Statement as Sun Devils run away from competition
28 Apr 2024
by Sean Melia of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for Pac-12 Championship, Desert Forest Golf Club, Karl Vilips Rankings

Arizona State are the final Pac-12 champions (ASU Athletics Photo)
Arizona State are the final Pac-12 champions (ASU Athletics Photo)

Arizona State entered the last Pac-12 Championship as the strong favorite, and they declared their dominance in the final round with a 16-shot victory at Desert Forest Golf Club in Carefree, Arizona.

During the week, it wasn’t all carefree golf for the Sun Devils; they started slowly and improved their scoring each day and chipped away at the deficit between them and the leaders, Washington. By the end of the third round, the Sun Devils had grabbed the lead and seemed poised to run away and hide from the chasing pack. 

That’s exactly what happened. 

Preston Summerhays led the charge for ASU on Sunday, shooting the second-best round of the day, a 5-under 66. He made six birdies after dropping his only shot on the third hole. Ryggs Johnston and Conner Williams also recorded under-par rounds, helping the Sun Devils record only the second team score of the entire event shoot under par. Michael Mjaaseth (73) and Jose Luis Ballester (75) rounded out the counting scores for ASU.

Summerhays is the No. 11 ranked player in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rankings.

Incredibly, the individual leader heading into the day, Wenyi Ding, shot 77 after making a triple bogey on hole Nos. 16 and 18 to tumble down the leaderboard.  

This victory was the program’s first since 2008 and its third this century (2000, 2008, 2024). 

California shot the same opening round score as ASU (368) and also climbed the leaderboard over the last 54 holes. Ethan Fang was a big reason why. He finished runner-up individually. Sampson Zheng also played great golf during the week, finishing T6.

The Golden Bears showed their steady depth on Sunday. As all six players scored within three shots of each other.  Zheng and Eric Lee each shot 72. Jeewon Park (73), Aaron Du (74), and Fang (74) were the other counting scores. What’s most impressive about Cal’s runner-up finish is Du did not play in the third round, and Cal didn’t have a sub. 

Stanford played its way into third place, moving up two spots on the final day. Karl Vilips shot 3-under 68 on Sunday. After a tough week, Barclay Brown finished with a solid, even-par 71. Jake Beber-Frankel (72), Michael Thorbjornsen (73), and Sean-Karl Dobson (74) rounded out the Cardinals' scoring on the final day. 

Washington and Oregon, who were close to the top of the leaderboard throughout the week, finished tied for fourth.

On the individual side, Vilips played a superb final round of 3-under 68 to win the Pac-12 title. His rounds of 68-75-71-68 gave him a one-shot win over Ryggs Johnston. Johnston shot 78-67-69-69. His 67 was one of just four under-par rounds on a brutally tough Friday afternoon. 

On Sunday’s front nine, Vilips shot 31, which was capped off by an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole. He shot one-over par on the back nine with two bogeys and a birdie.

It appeared that Vilips’ bogey on the 16th might put him into a playoff with ASU’s first-year superstar Wenyi Ding. It was a slow start for Ding on Sunday, he opened the day with the lead and made bogeys on hole Nos. 1 and 4. An eagle on the ninth got him back to even par for the day and 2-under par for the tournament. He dropped a shot on the par-5 11th and got it back with a birdie on the 14th. At this point, Vilips was done with his round and set the number at 2-under par. 

However, Ding made another mistake on a par 5. A triple bogey on the 16th all but left him out of the running. Both Johnston and Ding will erase the bitter taste of defeat as their team celebrates a victory. 

UCLA’s Omar Morales had the best round of the day; his 6-under 65 pulled him into T4 with Fang.

NCAA Sectional selections will be announced on Wednesday, May 1.

Results: Pac-12 Championship
1AustraliaKarl VilipsAustralia80068-75-71-68=282
2MTRyggs JohnstonLibby, MT50078-67-69-69=283
T3MexicoOmar MoralesMexico40069-75-77-65=286
T3TXEthan FangPlano, TX40071-70-71-74=286
5NorwayGregory SolhaugNorway40068-74-75-70=287

View full results for Pac-12 Championship

ABOUT THE Pac-12 Championship

72-hole men's collegiate championship of the Pac-12 Conference with simultaneous team and individual competitions. Unlike most college tournaments, the best five scores of six players account for the team score each day.

View Complete Tournament Information

Latest in 

Amateurgolf.com, Inc.
6965 El Camino Real 105-631
Carlsbad, CA 92009

Instagram X Facebook YouTube